Childbirth Education ClassFor expectant moms, one of the best, and often overlooked, ways of improving the odds of a safe and healthy birth is to take a good childbirth education class. But how do moms know whether they are choosing a class that will make a difference?

“A good childbirth education class can make the difference between feeling out of control and overwhelmed, and being able to handle the expected and unexpected on the day of your baby’s birth,” says Marilyn Curl, President of Lamaze International. “A really good class will also help moms-to-be avoid routine interventions like inductions and being confined to bed, which can actually increase the risks around birth.”  

Here are some factors mothers-to-be should consider when selecting a childbirth education class:

Research the Class Curriculum

Ask to see the content covered in childbirth courses carefully before selecting one. There are a variety of curriculums, and different approaches may work better for different people. Some courses do little more than orient women to the procedures of the hospital, regardless of whether those protocols are backed by research findings.

Curl cautions that women should be wary of “patient obedience classes.”

“Any class that simply focuses on what women are or are not allowed to do according to the procedures of the institution is not going to equip them properly for labor and birth,” Curl says.

Expectant parents should consider what they want to gain from taking the class and make sure those points are part of the curriculum. Lamaze classes focus on educating parents about six safe and healthy birth practices that are based on extensive clinical research. “Women rarely receive all of the best care practices, so it is critical for parents to educate themselves about their options,” Curl says.

Typical topics covered in childbirth education classes include:

·     Normal labor, birth and early postpartum
·     Positioning for labor and birth
·     Pain management techniques
·     Labor support
·     Communication skills
·     Comfort measures (breathing strategies, relaxation and massage techniques)
·     Risks and benefits of medical procedures
·     Breastfeeding
·     Healthy lifestyles

If the instructor teaches the class in a hospital setting or in a doctor’s office, parents should ask whether the instructor feels she has the freedom to discuss controversial topics related to childbirth and whether the class will discuss strategies for broaching these subjects with their care providers. This information can help parents evaluate whether the class will focus on teaching the safest birthing practices, rather than explaining hospital policies.

Consider the Instructor’s Training

Check what kind of experience and background the prospective teacher has and ask about the instructor’s certification. Lamaze offers the only internationally recognized childbirth educator certification program that is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators must pass a rigorous examination to show they meet the highest professional standards and have the necessary knowledge and skills to teach courses.

Invest Some Time

Between work schedules, family obligations and setting up the nursery, expectant parents may feel pressed for time. But parents-to-be need to make certain they devote plenty of time and attention to preparing for labor and birth. A one-day crash course might sound like the quickest way to get up to speed, but parents may not retain as much information from a course taught in this format. Online forums and TV shows focusing on birth do not offer personalized or in-depth information that’s found in a class.

“It may seem like a big time commitment, but nothing is more important than preparing for a safe and healthy birth and a good start for the baby,” Curl says.

Plan Ahead

Classes fill up quickly, so start researching courses early. Try to sign up for a childbirth education class six to eight weeks ahead of time, around the first week of the second trimester.

Check Class Size

For first-time parents, in particular, having personalized attention from the instructor is an important part of a childbirth education class. Ask about the size of the class. Ideally, there should be a maximum of 12 couples enrolled to ensure each has a chance to interact with the instructor and ask questions.

Choosing a class with an informative curriculum, a knowledgeable instructor and personalized attention are crucial for ensuring expectant parents have their questions and concerns addressed before the baby’s birth.

Lamaze International promotes a natural, healthy and safe approach to pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting practices. The best way to learn about Lamaze’s steps to a safe and healthy birth is to take a class with a Lamaze certified instructor. To find classes in your area, or for more information visit

  • Another fun cover shoot!

  • Help for families with speical needs

  • San Diego Travel Guide Out & About With Kids Coming Soon!


  • San Diego Family Magazine

    San Diego Family Magazine

    Have you ever read something great in a magazine and then been frustrated because you can't remember where you put it? Well, so have we! That's why we think it's a fabulous idea to have the entire publication available to read online! Simply click the link below and use the arrows to turn the pages. You can search by area, event, location, or advertiser.

    Click Here to Read Online

  • Flourishing Families

    Flourishing Families

    Resources for Families with Special Needs

    Flourishing Families is the Parent Resource Guide for Children with Special Needs that contains over 950 resources in San Diego County. Read informative articles that offer help and encouragement to families with special needs. Sign up to receive our bi-monthly eNewsletter, keeping you connected to current and relevant information in the community. Ready to get out of the house? When you join our online community, you'll also discover fun family-friendly activities and events.

    Click Here to Read Online

About Us

From its humble origins as a black & white, tabloid-style newspaper, the goal has been to "provide educational articles, resources & information with a focus on family issues."

Learn more.

Find Us On...

Join other parent enthusiasts on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and other social networks!

Advertising Information

Reach out to San Diego's biggest consumer segment and help your business grow!

Learn more.

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!